Game consoles are at the top of many kids’ wishlists, but knowing where to start in a flooded field of options is as tricky as becoming the last person standing in Fortnite.
The first thing you need to know is that there are three types of game consoles:
- Home consoles
- Hybrid consoles
Home game consoles are usually plugged into the wall and hook up to a TV or other monitor. Handhelds have built-in screens and their own batteries, making them portable, and hybrids can be used either way and often have a docking station.
Any of these three types could be right for your child and home, but that will depend on your and your child’s personal preferences. Any of these types allow the player to play multiple types of games. When you gift a console, also consider including games, headphones, controllers, or other accessories along with it.
Here are our top picks for which game consoles make exceptional gifts for kids:
The Nintendo Switch is the name in hybrid consoles. It has three play styles: TV mode, tabletop mode, and handheld mode. It has a 6.2-inch touch screen and a battery that lasts for 4.5 to 9+ hours. It can also be connected to up to eight consoles for local wireless multiplayer play. The console and dock are included, along with two controllers and other extras.
The handheld-only version gives you Nintendo Switch gaming at a great price. Small, light, and sleek, your kid can play any Nintendo Switch games that support handheld mode with this console.
This retro handheld console with a 2.5-inch screen is a perfect first console for kids. It has 182 of the old classic games like Mario Brothers that may bring back some memories for parents. This is a steal at this price!
The SEGA Genesis is an old-school classic that’s been completely revamped for a new generation. Loaded with games like Toe Jam & Earl, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Tetris, this console is ready to plug in and play right out of the box. The package includes the mini-console, two wired controllers, all needed cables, a USB adapter, and 42 games.
This premium Xbox is a popular console choice for a reason. This high-end console option for teens comes with two controllers and a chat headset that will let you play over 1,300 games with the included one-month game pass.
If console price tags give you sticker shock, consider this retro console with two-game cartridge slots and two wired controllers. This set-up is compatible with original NES and SNES games (think Super Mario Kart) and original port 16-bit SNES controllers.
This hybrid console can be plugged into a TV’s AV port for two players to join in on the action in high definition. When handheld, kids can use the 3.5-inch HD screen to play on the go with the rechargeable battery that lasts 4 to 6 hours. With 480 classic games included, this is an excellent option for a console.
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